The breaking year

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, 1909, by John Waterhouse 

In honour of the breaking new year, and of this annual time of resolutions, strategies, and self-reflection, a sonnet about life and youth and time by one of Spain’s greatest poets, Luis de Góngora (1561-1627):

While trying with your tresses to compete
in vain the sun’s rays shine on burnished gold;
while with abundant scorn across the plain
does your white brow the lily’s hue behold;

while to each of your lips, to catch and keep,
are drawn more eyes than to carnations bright;
and while with graceful scorn your lovely throat
transparently still bests all crystal’s light,

take your delight in throat, locks, lips, and brow,
before what in your golden years was gold,
carnation, lily, crystal luminous,

not just to silver or limp violets
will turn, but you and all of it as well
to earth, decay, dust, gloom, and nothingness.

(Translation by Alix Ingber, Sweet Briar College)

Happy new year, everyone!


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